Obituary: James Boyce

James Boyce, politician: born Paisley 6 September 1947; Member (Labour) Sheffield City Council 1984-92; MP (Labour) for Rotherham 1992-94; twice married (two sons); died Rotherham 25 January 1994.

THE SAD and sudden death of James Boyce has deprived Parliament of one of its most colourful and humorous characters. Honest and outspoken, he was liked by those who had met him and loved by those who knew him.

Jimmy Boyce was born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1947. His early years, many of which were spent working in a foundry, helped very much to shape his commitment to socialism. He was not a revolutionary but proud to be a rebel. His cause was to make life better for people: he despised unemployment, poverty and those who caused it. As a trade unionist in the Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU) and as a Sheffield City Councillor he worked tirelessly for his people and against 'the nightmare of Thatcherism'.

Never one to rest on his laurels, he used all his skills from his studies for his Industrial and Trade Union diploma as a means of pushing forward for progress on the things he believed in.

It was a very proud moment for him when he was elected MP for Rotherham at the last election and an honour to serve his people at a national level. He was a determined working-class politician and warmed to the banter of the chamber and he was at home giving the Government a hard time from the Labour benches. Every time the Prime Minister got to his feet Boyce would shout, just at the right moment, 'Resign'; and he meant it.

He lived and breathed his socialism in earnest and during the past few weeks of illness he missed his work very much. The politician was hard and unrelenting towards those who used others. The man was kind, warm and considerate, his repartee was instant and reflected his tough upbringing and early working life. He was a gregarious man, who loved life and liked nothing better than being surrounded by other people, and his presence will be missed by many of his colleagues at the House. A proud Scot, but an adopted Yorkshireman, he amused us all with his affectionate attempts at a Yorkshire accent.

Parliament was given a hint of what to expect from the man, when, after dealing with the Government's record on poverty, unemployment, privatisation and tax handouts to the rich, he wound up his maiden speech in May 1992 with 'I shall return to this subject at every opportunity, and every time that they fail to make life better for the people of Rotherham; I will accuse them and they will stand indicted.' And he did.

Jimmy Boyce's determined and conscientious approach to his work was very much shaped by the many trials of his past. He clearly had so much to offer as an MP and many will share a great feeling of regret that he should have been robbed of success so soon after he had obtained it, and without having the chance of fully realising what he wanted to achieve.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy